Cosmetic Endocrinology

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Cosmetic Endocrinology

Some of us remember when St. John's Wort was all the rage for depression treatment as a "natural" substance - until more recent research showed more dubious "results" for its effectiveness. Go to a Whole Foods and see the vast isles of colorfully decorated bottles of vitamin mixtures of all kinds, touting "new, improved" health. You'll find the men-specific part of the aisle is still about seven feet long compared to the rest of the warehouse that so appeals to women and their interest in "health."

You certainly know about Viagra - the "wonder drug" that helps men "get it up," in some cases (usually not those that have to do with psychological reasons, unless there's a wonderful, new, improved placebo (sugar pill) effect. And it certainly does NOT make you more "virile," attractive, or sexy. It keeps the thing hard in some cases and you had better have more skill to your attraction of women than a pill in your pocket. The commercials would strongly suggest otherwise though.

On the natural foods side of things they've gone so far as to take what is allowed on the market without a prescription - technically called a "food product" - "Enzyte" (you know, the pill with the happy guy prancing around so happily, with his happy face and the carnival music going in the background) - and packaged it with all the glitzy branding and boxes that make it look like an actual pharmaceutical.

Now there's something even more extreme going on to the other end of the spectrum - in real medicine, real hormones that have a real effect on your body (not food), advertised with the strong suggestion (a limp man-symbol) that you are a wuss if you don't pester your doctor for some.

The on-again, off-again nature of medical research on what is actually, truthfully healthful can be just as maddening to physicians as I'm sure it is to patients, and we all know what's behind the confusion - ADVERTISING. It's never been so insular a field as it is today for medical researchers whose oft-only-resort is to go to the deep pockets of fiercely lobbying, advertisers called pharmaceutical companies.

It's been a number of decades that cosmetic surgery has held appeal to women particularly, with more and more men on the rise in getting on the "cosmetic improvement" bandwagon. But men have been largely protected from seeking out pharmacological means of altering their "sexiness" until the advent of Viagra.

Well there's a new kid on the block you ought to know about regarding a push toward "cosmetic endocrinology" for men, and it's being fiercely pushed in the commercials. It's testosterone, with ads on "low T" as the latest crisis to be "discovered" in the recent single year of the vast span of human history in which men and women got their sexy on just fine, throughout.

It's the testosterone that you absolutely need for your charming, but sadly, "Low-T"...

Which makes it "cosmetic" in the same way that plastic surgery for the sexiness of your body is.

Isn't it a similar substance to the one which may jail pitcher Roger Clemens? Both are technically, steroids.

A recent article in Entrepreneur Magazine online mentions some information from the advertising side of testosterone instead of the medical site variety for a totally different viewpoint, and we are interested in your take:

"Take this quick test to find out if you might benefit from treatment. The new drug ad campaign goes on to ask four brief questions: Are you losing your sexual desire? Are you experiencing reduced sexual function? Are you losing muscle mass? Are you feeling less like yourself?

The ad might have gone on to ask, Are you a man over 70? But no, this is the latest example of a drug ad aimed at consumers in which aging becomes an illness that can be treated with lifelong drug therapy. The headline announces how prevalent the problem is: "One in five American men over 50 suffers from low testosterone." And just in case we miss the point, the ad features an enlarged version of the male symbol with the usually straight arrow gone limp.

Auxilium Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is advertising its new 1% testosterone gel now available by prescription under the brand name Testim 1%. (An ad aimed at doctors says, "Test him. Then Testim 1%," illustrating the natural progression of things.) The drug is described as "highly tested," an overly optimistic claim given the fact that the one and only FDA-required clinical trial lasted 90 days. Any drug billed as "replacement" therapy is likely to be prescribed indefinitely.

The ad campaign, as seen in the August 24 issue of The New York Times Sunday magazine, never comes right out and says that Testim 1% can overcome erectile dysfunction (ED) because the FDA approved the drug solely on the basis that it can increase blood levels of testosterone. But everything that surrounds Auxilium's ad implies that it is a proven treatment for ED.

This ad campaign is an example of how drug companies can get around FDA regulations against false advertising--just mount an expensive, multi-page advertisement complete with an article about the latest treatments for ED, and people will, no doubt, get the message."

It's normal for males and females in later years to have some flagging of sex drive or interest, and that's one of the wonderful reasons that human courtship has more than just a sexual phase to it. We don't just "desire" and seek "passion." We also "love" and "commit" as partners with a rich story of how we met, and continued to discover each other for all our lives forward.



Poorly written article

So what's the point of this article? That testosterone is bad? That the women's movement and their attempts to denigrate everything masculine, as symbolized by one hormone, were right all along? What are you trying to say? That a man who wants to perform better as a man has no business doing so, and might even be a criminal? Man up and just say what you mean instead of making vague implications.

As a man who was PROPERLY diagnosed years ago, I can say that this article is poorly written and researched. And to imply that hormones have an effect on the body whereas food does not is utter nonsense. I suggest you try telling a diabetic that the sugar he eats is just food, and therefore its effects on the body are negligible. While you're at it, research the trends in hypogonadism, and look into xenoestrogens. Also look into the effects of obesity on the aromatization of T (conversion to estrogen) and the role low T plays in depression. You might be surprised at the physical factors affecting manliness nowadays.

Admittedly, addressing hormonal issues won't solve a man's psychological issues, and I know this site is all about psychology. But the converse is true also; all your psychology, as impressed as I am with it, won't help a man who has physical and hormonal issues perform like a man.